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Caste Census

03 Dec 2021

Category : Social justice

Topic: Caste Census

Context:

Last week, the federal government notified the Supreme Court that the caste-based data listed in the 2011 Socio-Economic & Caste Census (SECC) was "unusable", but in 2016 it was registered in India. 98.87% of individual caste and religion data were "error-free" in the Rural Development area.

Why is the information "unusable" according to the government?

The government stated that the total number of castes surveyed in 1931 was 4,147, but SECC figures indicate more than 46 L different castes. Assuming that some castes can be bifurcated into subcastes, the sum cannot be exponentially high to that extent. Moreover, the entire exercise was corrupted because the enumerator used different spellings for the same set. In many cases, the government said respondents refused to reveal the caste.

How has information about caste been collected so far?

FThe counter does not collect other caste details. The primary method is the self-declaration of enumerators. To date, rear class committees in various states have conducted their censuses to determine the population of the rear caste.

What is the caste data published in the Census?

All independent Indian censuses from 1951 to 2011 released data on registered castes and tribes, but not other castes. Prior to that, all censuses up to 1931 had caste data.

What is SECC 2011?

The 2011 Socio-Economic & Caste Census was an essential exercise in obtaining data on the socio-economic status of different communities.
It consisted of two elements-A survey of households in rural and urban areas and a ranking of these households according to specified parameters and the number of castes. However, only details of the economic situation of people living in rural and urban households have been released. Caste data has not been published yet.

Differences between the Census and the SECC:

  • The Census presents a picture of the Indian population, and the SECC is a tool for identifying beneficiaries of government support.
  • All data is considered sensitive because the Census falls under the Census Act of 1948.
  • Still, all personal data reported by the SECC is granted and restricted by government agencies to benefit the household.

Caste Count Benefits:

The exact population size of each caste helps to adjust the reservation policy to ensure a fair representation of all castes.

Related Concerns:

Some sections may cause heartburn and require more caste-based reservation to significant individuals. Labelling people simply as belonging to the caste has been alleged to perpetuate the system.